As the FBI continues to sift through the past of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock, an investigative focus has developed on how he earned money and the recent travels of Paddock and his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, law enforcement officials familiar with the probe told Yahoo.
At least two points of interest were recent trips taken to Dubai, Spain and the Philippines, as well as more than 200 reports detailing large financial transactions Paddock had made at casinos since 2014. Although Danley has family in Dubai and the Philippines, sources told Yahoo that the FBI is seeking to determine the details of all overseas trips involving either Paddock or his girlfriend, as well as any financial transactions that may have taken place on the trips.
Paddock killed 58 people and wounded nearly 500 when he opened fire Sunday night on a country music festival from his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Police say Paddock committed suicide before they got to his room, where they found a trove of weapons that included high-powered rifles. Las Vegas police said Paddock’s attack lasted between nine and 11 minutes.
As authorities search for a motive, Paddock’s finances have become a significant focal point — most notably, 200-plus casino or wire transactions by Paddock that were flagged for review by FinCEN, the U.S. government’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which collects data to identify potential money laundering or covert terrorism financing. The FBI is also reviewing transactions by Danley that were flagged by FinCEN. According to a source familiar with the probe, the various transactions date back to 2014 and are being vigorously investigated. The sources said one transaction that has drawn significant attention is a $100,000 transfer to the Philippines by either Paddock or Danley prior to Sunday’s shooting. Danley was in the Philippines when Paddock opened fire on the crowd in Las Vegas.
A call to the FBI’s field office requesting comment was not returned. Danley returned to the U.S. on Tuesday night and is cooperating with the investigation, authorities said.
The FBI has not ruled out terrorism as a potential motive for Paddock’s shooting rampage, but a source familiar with the probe told Yahoo that there has been no evidence developed linking him to extremism.
The sources familiar with the investigation said the FBI and authorities are also following other potential leads, including a name on a batch of ammunition found in Paddock’s hotel room that did not match either Paddock or Danley. Authorities are also seeking to determine where and when Paddock purchased several pounds of ammonium nitrate and tannerite — which were among the explosive materials discovered in the hotel room, Paddock’s car and one of his homes. Both ammonium nitrate and tannerite can be ignited in a number of ways, including through the use of a detonator or being struck by a high-velocity projectile such as a bullet.
According to authorities, Paddock’s hotel suite at Mandalay Bay suggested painstaking planning before the shooting took place. Not only did Paddock stockpile 23 guns and high-capacity magazines filled with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, he also created a security perimeter in the hallway with wireless video cameras that would alert him to approaching officers. Authorities said 12 of the rifles Paddock brought to the hotel room were equipped with so-called bump stocks — an aftermarket shoulder stock that uses a specific trigger positioning and a gun’s reciprocating energy to simulate automatic weapon fire. In the wake of the shooting, some federal lawmakers are discussing banning bump stocks.
Charles Robinson has been a senior writer for Yahoo Sports since 2004, specializing in NFL and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @CharlesRobinson.
(Cover tile photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
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